Cheilanthes - Sinopteridaceae

Cheilanthes robusta (Kunze) R.M. Tryon






Allosorus robustus Kunze
Pellaea robusta (Kunze) Hook.
Doryopteris robusta (Kunze) Diels

Common name


Rhizome creeping, up to 5 mm in diameter, set with stout roots; rhizome scales dense, very narrowly lanceolate in outline, apex tapering to a point, about 4 mm long, pale golden brown. Fronds monomorphic, closely spaced or tufted, rigidly erect, 7-10 cm high, very coriaceous. Stipe stout, 0.7-4.5 cm long, shiny brown with a tuft of appressed, narrowly lanceolate, up to 7 mm long scales around the base. Lamina 2- to 3-pinnatifid, lanceolate to narrowly ovate in outline, apex acute, 1.5-7.2 x 0.6-2.7 cm; pinnae 6-8 pairs, alternate, ovate-deltate to broadly deltate in outline, c. 0.8-2 x 0.6-1.2 cm; pinnules 6-7, alternate, 0.6-0.7 x 0.4 cm; ultimate segments linear or rhombic in outline, apex bluntly pointed or rounded, up to 0.35 x 0.25 cm, hairless on both surfaces; veins free, obscure; rhachis brown, winged, hairless, costae green. Sori marginal aligned along the upper part of the segments, discrete, covered by the inrolled margin; indusium irregular, erose.



robusta: hard, strong, sturdy; a good description of the habit of this small fern with stout stipe.


On coarse, quartzitic, granite-derived sands or gravel, growing in predominantly semi-arid areas, in stony karoo with succulent scrub in full sun, also in shallow skeletal soil and on bouldery talus screes of granite hills.

Distribution worldwide

See African distribution.

Distribution in Africa

Namibia, South Africa.

Growth form



  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Page 140. (Includes a picture).
  • Crouch, N.R., Klopper, R.R., Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (2011) Ferns of Southern Africa, A comprehensive guide. Struik Nature. Pages 368 - 369. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 281 - 282. As Pellaea robusta (Kunze) Hook. (Includes a picture).
  • Roux, J.P. (2009) Synopsis of the Lycopodiophyta and Pteridophyta of Africa, Madagascar and neighbouring islands. Strelitzia 23, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria. Page 185.